Alex Kingston

Alexandra Elizabeth Kingston (born 11 March 1963)[1] is an English actress who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Active from the early 1980s, Kingston became noted for her television work in both Britain and the US in the 1990s, including her portrayal of the title role in the British miniseries The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996) and her regular role as Dr. Elizabeth Corday in the NBC medical drama ER (1997–2004).

Alex Kingston
Kingston in 2017
Alexandra Elizabeth Kingston

(1963-03-11) 11 March 1963
Epsom, Surrey, England
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1980–present
  • Ralph Fiennes
    (m. 1993; div. 1997)
  • Florian Haertel
    (m. 1998; div. 2013)
  • Jonathan Stamp (m. 2015)
RelativesWalter Renneisen (maternal uncle)

Later credits include the recurring role of River Song in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who (2008–2015), Mrs. Bennet in the ITV1 period-drama fantasy Lost in Austen (2008) and Dinah Lance in The CW's superhero fiction drama series Arrow (2013–2016).

Early life

Kingston was born and brought up in Epsom, Surrey, to Anthony Kingston, an English butcher and his German wife, Margarethe (née Renneisen).[2][3] Kingston's paternal great-great-grandmother was Jewish, an ancestry Kingston explored on the series Who Do You Think You Are?[4][5] Kingston's uncle, her mother's younger brother, is actor Walter Renneisen.[6] Her younger sisters are Susie, who is mentally and physically disabled as a result of being deprived of oxygen at birth, and Nicola, a former actress who appeared in the 1996 British TV production of The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, in which Kingston starred.

Kingston was inspired to pursue acting by one of her teachers at Rosebery School for Girls. Kingston auditioned and performed in the Surrey County Youth Theatre production of Tom Jones as Mrs Fitzpatrick, alongside Sean Pertwee as Captain Fitzpatrick and Thwackum played by Tom Davison. She later completed a three-year programme at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to join the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Kingston has appeared in a number of British-produced television dramas, including Grange Hill, Crocodile Shoes, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, The Knock and various guest roles on The Bill.

Kingston's film credits include The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), A Pin for the Butterfly (1994), The Infiltrator (1995), Croupier (1998), Essex Boys (2000), Boudica (Warrior Queen in the USA) (2003) in which she played the eponymous Boudica, Sweet Land (2005) and Crashing (2007).

In September 1997, Kingston gained North American television fame after being cast on the long-running medical drama ER. Her first appearance was in the premiere of the fourth season, the award-winning live episode "Ambush", as British surgeon Elizabeth Corday. Kingston played this role for just over seven seasons, leaving in October 2004 with the season 11 episode, "Fear", after her contract was not renewed. Kingston, who was 41 at the time, criticized the move as ageism, stating that "apparently, I, according to the producers and the writers, am part of the old fogies who are no longer interesting."[7]

In spring 2009, Kingston returned to ER during its 15th and final season for two episodes, "Dream Runner" and the two-hour series finale, "And in the End...".

In November 2005, Kingston guest-starred in the long-running mystery drama Without a Trace in the season 4 episode, "Viuda Negra". The episode was directed by Kingston's former ER castmate Paul McCrane. She played Lucy Costin, a wealthy vacationer from the U.S. whose husband is kidnapped by a Mexican street gang during their honeymoon.

In 2006, Kingston starred as Nurse Ratched opposite Christian Slater as Randle Patrick McMurphy in the Garrick Theatre's West End production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.[8] Kingston revealed that she auditioned for role of Lynette Scavo on ABC's Desperate Housewives but was turned away for being too curvy.[9] In a 2006 interview, she admitted to considering and nearly attempting suicide after her separation from her husband Ralph Fiennes.[10]

In 2008, Kingston guest-starred in the fourth series of the long-running science fiction television programme Doctor Who in the two-part story "Silence in the Library" / "Forest of the Dead" as River Song. She reprised the role in fifteen episodes in between 2008 and 2015. Kingston says she thought her role was simply a one-off but was delighted that she would be a returning character.[11] Kingston returned as the character in the 2015 Christmas special "The Husbands of River Song". It was her first appearance alongside Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor.[12] She has replayed the role in a series of audio-plays from Big Finish Productions beginning in 2015. The character has since made an appearance in other Doctor Who based properties produced by the company.[13]

In September 2008, Kingston took the part of Mrs. Bennet in ITV's acclaimed four-part production Lost in Austen, which is based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In October that same year, Kingston appeared in the police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in the season 9 episode "Art Imitates Life" as Patricia Alwick, a psychiatrist and grief counsellor who helps the team cope with the recent death of CSI member Warrick Brown.

In February 2009, Kingston portrayed Miranda Pond, a defence attorney in two episodes of the legal drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. This guest spot reunited Kingston with her former castmate from ER, Mariska Hargitay. In June, Kingston starred as the lead character Ellie Lagden, one of four former convicts in the BBC One drama series Hope Springs until its cancellation in July. In September that year, she had a recurring role in FlashForward, playing Inspector Fiona Banks.

In 2010, Kingston returned to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the season 12 episode "Trophy", which reunited Kingston with her former ER castmate Maria Bello.

In 2011, Kingston was a cast member on British supernatural series Marchlands, portraying Helen Maynard. She also guest-starred in the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice as Marla Tompkins, a psychiatrist who writes book reviews for newspapers.[14] Kingston appeared in Friedrich Schiller's Luise Miller at the Donmar Warehouse in London.

In early 2013, Kingston appeared in Arrow, playing Professor Dinah Lance, the mother of Laurel and Sara Lance.[15]

In July 2013 Kingston played Lady Macbeth opposite Kenneth Branagh in Macbeth at Manchester International Festival. Her performance was broadcast to cinemas on 20 July as part of National Theatre Live.[16] She reprised the performance with Branagh at the Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. It was her New York stage debut.[17]

In September 2014, Kingston starred as Ruth Hattersley, an analyst working for the Missing Persons Bureau on the ITV mini-series drama Chasing Shadows.[18]

Personal life

Kingston met English actor Ralph Fiennes while they were both students at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. They were together for ten years before marrying in 1993. In 1995, Fiennes began an affair with his Hamlet co-star Francesca Annis and left Kingston the following year; they were divorced in 1997.[19]

At the end of 1998,[19] Kingston married German writer and freelance journalist Florian Haertel, having met him the previous year on a blind date arranged by friends;[20] they have a daughter together, Salome Violetta Haertel, born 28 March 2001.[21] Kingston and Haertel separated in 2009.[22] On 30 October 2009, Haertel sued Kingston for dissolution of the marriage, and divorce was finalized in 2013.[23] Kingston married television producer Jonathan Stamp in 2015.

Kingston lives in the United States.[24]

Kingston appeared on the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in September 2012, investigating the lives of her great-grandfather Will Keevil and her four-times great-grandmother, Elizabeth Braham.



Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Wildcats of St. Trinian's Schoolgirl Uncredited
1989 The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover Adele
1994 A Pin for the Butterfly Mrs. Solomon
1995 Carrington Frances Partridge
1996 Saint-Ex Chic Party Guest
1998 Croupier Jani de Villiers
1999 This Space Between Us Peternelle
2000 Essex Boys Lisa Locke
2005 Sweet Land Brownie
2006 Alpha Dog Tiffany Hartunian
2007 Crashing Diane Freed
2009 Sordid Things Eve Manchester
2011 Like Crazy Jackie
Ghost Phone: Phone Calls from the Dead Sheila
2013 Bukowski Katharina Bukowski Not released yet
National Theatre Live: Macbeth Lady Macbeth
2018 Deadpan Tamara Short


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Grange Hill Jill Harcourt 3 episodes
1986 Henry's Leg Noreen Miniseries
1987 A Killing on the Exchange Ellen Miniseries
1988–1995 The Bill Dr. Howard / Lisa / Maggie Fisher 4 episodes
1989 Hannay Kirsten Larssen Episode: "The Terrors of the Earth"
The Play on One Daniella Episode: "These Foolish Things"
1992 Covington Cross Helen Episode: "Cedric Hits the Road"
1993 Foreign Affairs Actress TV film
Soldier Soldier Ursula Kröhling Episode: "Camouflage"
1994 Woman of the Wolf Woman (voice) TV film
Crocodile Shoes Caroline Carrison 5 episodes
1995 The Infiltrator Anna TV film
1996 The Knock Katherine Roberts 13 episodes
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Moll Flanders TV serial
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction Verity Graham TV film
1997–2004, 2009 ER Dr. Elizabeth Corday 160 episodes
2003 Boudica Boudica TV film
also known as Warrior Queen
2005 The Poseidon Adventure Suzanne Harrison TV film
Without a Trace Lucy Costin Episode: "Viuda Negra"
2008 Freezing Serena Wilson Episode #1.3
Lost in Austen Mrs. Bennett Miniseries
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Patricia Alwick Episode: "Art Imitates Life"
2008–2015 Doctor Who River Song 15 episodes[12]
2009 Hope Springs Ellie Lagden 8 episodes
2009–2010 FlashForward Fiona Banks 3 episodes
2009–2010 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miranda Pond 4 episodes
2010 Ben Hur Ruth Miniseries
2011 Private Practice Dr. Marla Thomkins 2 episodes
Marchlands Helen Maynard Miniseries
2012 Upstairs Downstairs Dr. Blanche Mottershead 5 episodes
Who Do You Think You Are? Herself Episode: "Alex Kingston"
NCIS Miranda Pennebaker Episode: "Gone"
2013–2016 Arrow Dinah Lance 7 episodes
2014 Chasing Shadows Ruth Hattersley Miniseries[25]
2015 American Odyssey[26] Jennifer Wachtel 2 episodes
2016 Blue Bloods Commander Sloane Thompson Episode: "Friends in Need"
Transformers: Rescue Bots Quickshadow (voice) 5 episodes
Shoot the Messenger Mary Foster 8 episodes
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Naomi Shropshire Miniseries
Crushed Cricket Stella Unaired Hulu pilot[27]
2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Vlurgen (voice) Episode: "Mr. Rippen"
2018–present A Discovery of Witches Sarah Bishop 7 episodes
2019 The Widow Judith Gray 8 episodes

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2012 Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock River Song

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category For Result
1997 British Academy Television Awards Best Actress The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders Nominated
1998 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series ER Won
1999 Won
2000 Nominated
2001 Nominated
2008 Doctor Who Magazine Awards Best Guest Actress Doctor Who Won
2009 TV Land Awards Icon Award ER Won
2010 Doctor Who Magazine Awards Best Supporting Actress Doctor Who Won
2012 SFX Awards Best Actress Won
2013 Anglophenia's Fan Favorites Women's Tournament Woman of the Year Herself Won
2016 Saturn Awards Best Guest Performance in a Television Series Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song Nominated


  1. Lundy, Darryl. "Person Page 18418". Retrieved 20 July 2009.
  2. Lee, Veronica (9 March 2006). "'I wouldn't say I was strong...'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  3. "Alex Kingston: Who Do You Think You Are?". Who Do You Think You Are?. BBC One. 19 September 2012. Event occurs at 29:53. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  4. Dysch, Marcus (20 September 2012). "Alex Kingston discovers her Jewish Background". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  5. Bauckham, Jon (18 September 2012). "Alex Kingston". Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  6. "(article in German)" (in German). Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  7. Bridget Byrne (7 June 2004). "ER Can Dr. Corday". E News. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  8. ""One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" returns with Christian Slater at Garrick from 21 March 2006". 15 February 2006.
  9. Heather (23 May 2006). "Alex Kingston slams skinniness of the Desperate Housewives". Fametastic. Archived from the original on 27 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  10. Walls, Jeannette (31 May 2006). "Dissing the desperately skinny 'Housewives'". Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  11. Duncan, Andrew (27 August 2011). "Doctor Who: Alex Kingston interviewed". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  12. "The Doctor and River Song Reunite For A Spectacular Christmas". BBC. The Doctor Who Team. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  13. "The Diary of River Song". Big Finish. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  14. Mitovich, Matt Webb (4 February 2011). "Private Practice Exclusive: Shrink Role Fits ER Alum Alex Kingston". Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  15. Hibberd, James (22 January 2013). "'Arrow' scoop: 'ER' actress is Laurel's mom". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  16. "Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston "MACBETH"". Manchester International Festival. 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  17. Mcdermon, Daniel (20 August 2013). "Branagh's 'Macbeth' Coming to New York's Park Avenue Armory in 2014". The New York Times.
  18. "Chasing Shadows on DVD - A Chat With Alex Kingston". The Huffington Post UK.
  19. Sheldon, Michael (14 August 2003). "'I'm not afraid to take risks'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  20. Freeman, Hilary (22 June 2004). "At my age, if we want to have another child, this is the time to do it". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  21. "Salome Violetta Haertel". Variety. 5 June 2001. Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  22. Curtis, Nick (1 June 2011). "Doctor Who is the closest thing to theatre on TV". thisislondon. Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  23. "FLORIAN HAERTEL VS ALEXANDRA KINGSTON". UniCourt. 20 December 2018. Archived from the original on 19 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  24. "Alex Kingston". The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Interview). Interviewed by Craig Ferguson. Los Angeles: CBS. 6 January 2011.
  25. "Reece Shearsmith, Alex Kingston and Noel Clarke to star in Chasing Shadows". ITV Presscentre. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  26. "American Odyssey". IMDb. 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  27. "Colm Feore, Alex Kingston & Jacob Vargas Join Hulu Pilot 'Crushed'". Deadline Hollywood. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
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